The Lamborghini LM series 4x4s comes in mind when you hear people talking about exotic Lamborghini 4×4. The first Lamborghini off-road manufactured by the Italian automaker for the American firm, Mobility Technology International (MTI), was called Cheetah. This car was specially manufactured for the US military and was designed to be an all-terrain vehicle. Because of the short time that Lamborghini was given to build this Lamborghini 4×4, the Italian automaker used the instructions taken from M.T.I., who based its requests on a well known vehicle, the FMC XR311. As a result, the FMC sued both the MTI and the Lamborghini Company when the final prototype was revealed at the 1977 Geneva Auto Show. The Cheetah and the XR311 can be considered progenitors of the contemporary Humyee. This Lamborghini 4×4 was manufactured in San Jose, California.
The body of the Lamborghini Cheetah was made of fiberglass while, inside, the car had enough space for four fully equipped soldiers and, of course, for a driver. It had a lot of components similar to those used on the XR311, that being the main cause of the lawsuit. Roughly shaped and looking like a Jeep-styled SUV, this Lamborghini 4×4 was equipped with an engine that was never again used to power another Lamborghini car.
The engine I’m talking about, used to equip the Lamborghini Cheetah, is a large, waterproofed 5.9 liters V8 Chrysler engine mounted on the rear of the car and being able to produce around 180 horsepower at 4000 rpm. This 4×4 also featured a three speed automatic transmission and a four wheel drive system while the radiator was protected with the help of an infrared detection system. The minimal gear differential offered a small possibility for the engine to drive the transmission with an increased torque. That’s why the Cheetah wasn’t capable to produce enough power at low-end gearing ratios. The engine and its helpers, made it possible for the Lamborghini Cheetah to go from zero to 100 km/h in only 9.0 seconds and to achieve a top speed of 167 km/h. Because of the placement of the engine in the rear, the Cheetah had very poor handling characteristics while the engine wasn’t powerful enough to qualify this Lamborghini 4×4 as a heavy vehicle and that was one of the major disadvantages of this car.
Unfortunately, the US army rejected almost at first sight the Cheetah prototype, because the leaders didn’t want to invest in a car built outside the USA. Eventually, they agreed to test it in the California dessert, but during one of these tests it was totaled. As a result, the prototype was completely destroyed while the wreck wasn’t returned to Italy.
This Lamborghini 4×4 supposed a lot of money spent by the Italian company at that time. The price of the Lamborghini Cheetah was set at $25,000 back then and the company even made a brochure in Arab, hoping to attract the attention of some wealthy sheikhs, but not even one of them became interested in purchasing the Cheetah after it was completely destroyed during the Army’s tests drives. That’s why the Italian automaker didn’t manufacture another Lamborghini Cheetah. And even worse, the company had huge financial problems in 1977, but eventually had the capability to get back among the best car manufacturers and release on the market successful, luxurious and powerful cars. A few years later, the Italian automaker developed the Lamborghini LM002 which followed the same design as the Cheetah, but this time the engine changed its location being placed in the front and was replaced by a more powerful, V12 engine.
Post tags: Tags: 5.9 liters chrysler engine, lamborghini 4x4, lamborghini cheetah